The billions and structural change


This morning was one of those, ‘why bother?’ times.  The English game, already flooded with cash, is about to get a 70% pay increase.  Our game, already ravaged by the destruction of meritocracy over the last decade, will be ever-more firmly put in its place.

Good for the English.  They are notoriously rubbish at running football clubs but eventually there will be an amount of money which is so great, that they will become successful at it, if not actually ‘good’.  The Premiership’s bounty is historic, the trickle-down to the Football League will be eye-watering by any other measure.  The distribution to grass-roots football to build pitches, fund youth clubs and generally improve the technical proficiency at all levels, will be lavish, even if it is only 2%.

The economic impact at 20 Premier League locations will be significant.  These games are worth tens of millions of pounds to host cities each year, employing hundreds of people from security guards to Bentley salesmen.  On announcing the deal, Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, proclaimed that Burnley were currently economically more significant than Ajax, an astonishing fact.  Before the new deal!

Scottish football can cry in its Magners or we can play with the hand we’ve been dealt.  The first reaction has to be to clearly establish that Scottish football’s exclusion from riches available in the England and Wales’ football league structure is not the fault of the English (or Welsh).  In the last decade the FA Premier League made it clear they didn’t want Celtic and Rangers, but the English and Welsh FAs, or the Football League, have not given any opinion on extending their federation to include Scottish football.

The immediate problem in Scottish football, is those running Scottish football have failed to address creeping structural threats.  Those running our game are, to a significant degree, happy with their club blazer, tickets for Hampden occasions and of a Scot having a one-in-four chance of becoming a vice president of Fifa.

It may appear obvious to you and me that becoming part of the big game next door, allowing our better clubs (and I mean more than just Celtic) to compete for a place in the top league, for many of the rest to enjoy the enormously improved commercial deals available in the Football League, for the community clubs to plug themselves into the bountiful distributed benefits available over the border, and for our cities to benefit from the economic boom available for hosting a Premiership club, is enormously desirable.  Those running our game have not figured this out yet.

So don’t blame the English, our exclusion from the party is a consequence of Scottish football not asking to join the English and Welsh structure.  Until this question is asked, we’ll never know the answer and we will continue to face financial hardship, our towns will not benefit from the indoor facilities being built across Europe, and Bentley salespeople will have more time on their hands.

Scottish football needs a strategy for structural change.  Such a move would benefit the entire game here, and would benefit the Football League.  Every other response of comment on yesterday’s TV deal is just a distraction.

Looking forward to tonight, hope we see Gary and/or Stuart.

If you’ve not booked your CQN11 St Patrick’s Dinner, which is on Cup Final weekend, Friday 13 March, at the Kerrydale Suite, email me,

Click Here for Comments >

About Author


  1. starry plough .



    Another place came to mind –



    Sort Kaffe & Vinyl.



    Christiana didn’ t float my boat .All a bit Mad Max meets Desolation Row.

  2. What about Campbell Ogilvie, can he not step in and sort out this mess…..? I’m joking of course, if you consider that the folks right now running deidco are way too busy looking after themselves to help deidco, then we have a similar situation with the folks running our game, i.e. way too busy looking after themselves….and worrying about deidco….to do anything about salvaging the game in this country.

  3. Rowley Birkin QC


    13:37 on


    11 February, 2015



    Because that’s what he was wearing at the time they filmed him? Or are they supposed to follow him around until such time as he’s wearing something else?

  4. macanbheatha oscar abú



    13:40 on 11 February, 2015





    Thanks buddy. I’ll get look at it.. i’ll pass it onto the mate out here who put me onto the documentary aswel. He will be delighted.



    Up the good guys

  5. Did you know that poor woman that was found murdered in Cranhill Park STV News just showed a picture of Paul Ward and he was wearing a Celtic Top, I am sure that they could have found another photo of him, But no let’s show him wearing a hoops top !!!

  6. Tim Malone Will Tell on

    A lot of the problems lie with broadcasting structure (pan British) being at odds with sporting structures (national) – not sure how you fix that without becoming an independent country with a new national broadcaster in place.



    I think that the BBC do have a case to answer though in the current setup – Match of the Day will be broadcast come what may wherever you reside so distribution of license funding is open to question.



    SKY and BT would argue that they are only reacting to market forces and have no obligation to anyone other than their subscribers and shareholders. If you don’t like what they are doing – unsubscribe.

  7. The England TV deal effectively (IMO) kills Celtic’s ability to compete for players potentially for the next 10 years, from a financial perspective. We will now, as many point out, need to look at alternative ways of maximising revenue and also competing in this market.



    We will not be able to compete with EPL clubs on wages, so we need to sell the whole vision of Celtic, which as a club and a fan base we believe is like no other. It may not work for all players, but then do you want these anyway, but we will have to accept that many will be with us for only 2 years before they move.



    Our youth development has got to be more successful. Where there is little competitive football for the development squad, can the team arrange friendlies in places where there are strong CSC representations, and offer the opportunity for Celtic fans in England and Europe to watch the squad?



    As fans, we need to stick with and encourage our youngsters more, and help them develop. I commented just the other week that when John Gudetti was struggling in front of goal, if he was one of our own 20 year olds then he would have been getting pelters from many.



    If we embrace this new model and accept that we are going to have to find new ways to compete, and develop players, then when it eventually goes caput in the EPL, we can move in for the kill!!



    On the plus side, Mr Lawell may have known this before appointing Delia, and took a punt accordingly…



    Apologies for the essay – although my posts are often not responded to anyway!

  8. macanbheatha oscar abú





    Not in stock it says.. i’ll have a search for it tomorrow.

  9. So Burnley are ‘bigger’ than Ajax now are they? I wonder which set of fans will be having more exciting european nights, and winning a league or a cup. So Burnley have enough Money to raid the Pot 3 european teams players, to do what exactly? Stay on the road to nowhere? They will be forever chasing the big english teams, just hoping to be able to play them now and again.



    If we joined the Premier league, what would happen? Who knows for sure, I personally think we could compete in the competitions. But at what cost? If we made top 4, would we be allowed to compete in the Champions league, and even if the rules were changed to allow that, what about the spending in the Premier League? All the big clubs are in huge debt. All it would take is for the new deal to not get any bigger. Lets say in 4 years time, nobody is able to pay another 50% increase, and they need the income to stay the same for the next 4 years, and maybe decrease after that? Wow, I wonder how many of their teams would looking at the liquidation and keep the same history option……



    Not saying we shouldn’t do anything mind you. Of course something has to change, something has to give, or we are going to get eaten up by our neighbours. But I am not sure that, ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’, is the answer. Is that what we did with Rangers. We came close, but we stopped the excessive spending. We simply would not compete in that league without spending massive amounts and going into huge amounts of debt.



    We need to get rid of the SFA completely. Then look closely at our game. We need to not care if Dundee UTD and Aberdeen want 4 games a season to keep their pockets lined. We need to do whats best for the whole of Scotland. NOT just the top 10 or 12 in the premier league. So wether its increase to 14, 16, 18 or whatever, it needs to be done. 2 league games per season against the other teams. Start a bit before we normally do, so that there is more interest in our games from other countries, and to give the teams that have euro qualifiers a better chance.



    With less games, we can then look at something like an Atlantic league/cup. Maybe, we could speak to the english FA about a joint cup competion, either it replaces the league cup, or its a 3rd cup. Or do an Atlantic league and cup competion. Also does it need to just be Atlantic? I think there are a number of small countries in europeu, who are probably fed up getting beat from the bigger teams again and again, and only being pot 4 and hoping for a uefa cup place. I think we could get a lot of countries/teams to join, and it winning the league or cup could have a lot of prestige. I don’t know if it would be only the top teams from that league who join the champions league or not, but lets get something started and then figure that out. I am sure there would be enough teams and interest to have a least 2 divisions of teams who are pot 3 max, (if they qualify).



    Also, I might be a Celtic fan, but I would be a bit sad to see the likes of Dundee UTD and Aberdeen in the english 2nd division , with virtually no chance of having european games ever again. I do like/want to see (most of) the other Scottish teams do well in europe.

  10. If Celtic supporters didn’t go around murdering people the beeb couldn’t publish the feckin photies.

  11. traditionalist88 on

    Valley Exile (Not in Administration)



    You’re right of course regarding the model, I just don’t think it is new… we already sell the whole vision – one issue we have is that even if we win the league we don’t know what European competition we will be competing in, there is always a possibility that things could go majorly wrong and there will be no Euro football in any given season.



    So whilst I think we sell ourselves well already, there remain material uncertainties regarding one big part of that vision, which is European nights at Parkhead.



    Still, the CL carrot should be there again in July & August and for all the hype of the EPL TV deal, nothing they have will ever match one of those big nights in Glasgow.




  12. kdc - Tully's corner on

    coolmore mafia



    12:39 on 11 February, 2015


    I should add the BBC pays the English league £70 million a season for highlights on the BBC






    Thats before production costs, which are huge

  13. People keep saying that big Michael Ashley always wins and always gets what he wants. Maybe if it’s his intention to take Sevco to the promised land, then it opens the door for us too.



    For the record, I don’t want us to go south.

  14. Does anyone really think that Scottish publicans subscibe to Sky to get the punters in by showing Kilmarnock v Celtic on a Monday as opposed to Chelsea v Man City on a Saturday or Sunday early evening


    Demand dictates supply and I would opine that there is now a greater demand for English games in pubs up and down the country as there is for the home grown product

  15. Today’s top tip: never be pictured wearing your Celtic top if you plan to murder someone. You let us all down.


    MICKYBHOY 1888



    I reckon the games aren’t attracting people to pubs anymore,certainly not like they used to.



    Too much dross,not enough quality.



    Result-fewer pubs coughing up.

  17. mickbhoy1988 at 1406


    Solutions would be a useful contribution as opposed to acceptance don’t you think?




    Perhaps showing a photo of a suspected murderer wearing a Celtic top is a cheap shot. Incidental,as far as I’m concerned.



    The important thing is that Jean Campbell’s alleged killer has been tracked down,charged,and will be tried.



    That’s more important,IMO.

  19. Valley Exile



    7/10 Could do better .Smiley thing. Not Alec Guinness though.



    I agree completely with what you are saying about Guidetti and the way we have for years treated our own young players. I recall one night twenty two years ago when we played St Johnstone and Gerry Creaney getting absolute pelters. He had started that season quite well ( and had had a strong end of the previous season) and was being mentioned as a possible candidate for the National Team. He had a poor game – though he might have scored- and was given dog’s abuse. I thought he was getting a bit overhyped but the vitriol was out of all proportion and even the likes of legendary duds like Jim Melrose and Big Cas were never subjected to such criticism. Burchill was not treated much better after the initial enthusiasm wore off and some of the younger defenders like Moyes and McGugan did not get treated any better,



    Never understood why our young players get it harder in the neck than players we have signed but mostly I think they do.




  20. Rowley Birkin QC on

    Picture could easily be cropped to show just his face if any picture was necessary.




  21. Honest Cover-up @ 13:28



    I like your thinking (while not agreeing with it all).



    I, too, advocate cancellation (or avoidance) of BT/SKY contracts until we in Scotland get a fairer share of the pie.



    I also confess to finding it a struggle to find even the smallest crumb of comfort (for Celtic) from this latest deal: we’ll certainly find it harder to recruit and retain talent.



    Although it may in part be down to ineptitude on the part of our football administrators, it is absolutely infuriating that we get such a raw deal from the broadcasters. Especially from the BBC (although their funds pale to insignificance in the face of Murdoch’s Billions).



    Since Scotland remains part of the UK,


    the question also ought to be asked: is this fair, in a strategic sense?



    Aren’t deals like this latest from SKY/BT choking the life out of the ‘football industry’ in the rest of the UK?



    About all that seems to be in Scotland’s favour is that those caught up in the EPL dash for cash appear to lack any vision for the game in their own country and are squandering their money, largely on luxury imports.



    However, that might change one day. As Paul says: ‘eventually there will be an amount of money which is so great, that they will [sic] become successful at it, if not actually ‘good’.’



    While Scotland remains part of the UK, there may be leverage to be had in demanding our fair share of some of these proceeds; perhaps even insisting on a merger of the leagues.



    Of course, even with a political will, any of that will probably take years and may even be beyond our ‘finest’ politicians and blazerati.




  22. Friesdorfer


    12:24 on


    11 February, 2015


    Surely the answer is that the Scottish Government must become engaged in this as the massive failure of the SFA & SPFL in governance, to make it clear to Sky, BT and the BBC that they will not be allowed to broadcast English football in Scotland unless we get a proper and fair pro-rata share of the deal commensurate with the number of subscribers/licence payers here.






    So it’s to be fascist/Nazi censorship in Scotland, similar to Salmond’s claim that ‘beaming’ UKIP news items into Scotland cost the SNP a Euro seat.



    “Stop the world we want to get off”, or is it “stop the world we want to get on”



    Let’s become a little isolated nation on the northern tip of Europe – drop the English language – start a campaign for all the countries of the world to adopt Gaelic as a second language – ban everyone from fishing around our coasts – bankrupt ourselves with the low and staying low, price of oil and use a quarter of what’s left of our income cleaning-up the North sea when all the oil companies have left….oh and have government sponsored football, where all the money goes on players’ wages, agents and transfer fees.



    We’d be living in Shangri La.



    We could ahve joined the English/UK set-up years ago – they wanted Celtic and Rangers in their top flight – be we are so small-minded, that we put the fear having a GB team ahead of the betterment of the Scottish game.



    We were so frightened and wanted so badly to hang on to our never-achieving Scottish team, which we were told we were in no danger of losing, that we are now the paupers of European televised sport.



    Boycott SKY and BT – don’t make me laugh – it’s these delusions of grandeur and schoolboy Roy of the Rovers tripe, that has seen the Scottish game marginalised and our national team labelled as a permanent non-qualifying joke.

  23. The solution has to be political or Scottish football diminishes domestically to European irrelevance.



    Better Together?



    Aye right – as long as it’s not football.



    But how can you argue for the financial benefits of being part of a bigger market when politically the party of current favour wants the opposite?



    If Carlsberg did Cognitive Dissonance.

  24. Scanned the rags in Morrisons, another disgraceful headline tucked away on page 15, a Portuguese guy who were allegedly giving a trial to last year charged with rape, headline reads- ‘Celtic try-out footballer in court for rape’. Seemingly the DR were called in to CP, for the disgraceful headlines after Zaluska was assaulted, I see it obviously done a lot of good……

  25. I agree the EPL TV deal is astranomically rediculous.



    I am sure however the sum paid, that is way above any amount SKY take in from subscribers in the UK, is based of advertising revenue that SKY gain from EPL coverage as well as selling on games to overseas subscribers.



    Scottish football does not and will never bring in the advertising revenue that will afford it a deal allowing it to compete with EPL.



    We are a dead duck floating in a stale and stagnent pond left unattended for decades.



    SFA and SPFL (previously SFL & SPL) blazers and reps & all our club officials hold equal responsibility for the state of our game.



    Scottish football on it’s own can and will never be marketable again in it’s present form.



    The bubble in the EPL will only burst when advertising revenues fall substantially.



    I don’t see an end to it.



    Will the loss of 10% of it’s viewers amke a substantial difference to advertising revenue for SKY. Possibly but I doubt enough to make a telling difference to the deal offered to EPL.



    MWD said AYE

  26. If you want to join the English set up, regional leagues start around tier 9. So minimum a decade before any prospect of top flight football. How many Scottish clubs would get lost in the lower leagues? The English don’t need or want us, it is an implausible fantasy.






    Germany: 80.2m


    France: 66.0m


    Italy: 59.8m


    England: 53.0m


    Spain: 47.3m






    Denmark: 5.6m


    Sweden: 9.6m


    Norway: 5.1m


    Belgium: 11.2m


    Holland: 16.8m


    Scotland: 5.3m



    Combined: 53.6m



    Scotland and Holland by themselves have as many big clubs as England, with the fan bases to back them up.

  27. BMCUWP



    There is that syndrome of course. Not a national trait I like.



    I think that further back – when I was a child – there was such a trust of Jock Stein that the assumption was any of the Quality Street Kids who were tried would be good- as quite a lot were- which meant those who struggled to settle in like Paul Wilson ( superb talent but he was more frustrating than Sammy or Yogi times ten) were given a lot more breathing space than even the next batch were.




  28. BBC Scotland and STV art departments currently in furious race to see who can photoshop Celtic crest onto ISIS flag first for tea-time bulletins.

  29. !!BadaBing!!



    Why don’t we ban them?



    How much money are they worth to us in a season?



    If we ban them it could hit circulation and advertising income.



    Possibly hasten their demise.



    Get it done Celtic ffs!

  30. Bada,



    Page 15 isny ‘scanning the rags’



    I hope you’re no treating that place like a library ;)




  31. bobby murdoch’s curled-up winklepickers



    14:15 on 11 February, 2015


    Perhaps showing a photo of a suspected murderer wearing a Celtic top is a cheap shot. Incidental,as far as I’m concerned.



    The important thing is that Jean Campbell’s alleged killer has been tracked down,charged,and will be tried.



    That’s more important,IMO.





    I haven’t watched the news today, but, I heard last night, that the guy charged with her murder, has been detained at Carstairs, and therefore probably wont face a trial.